As electric vehicles (EVs) become more prevalent, the need for accessible, reliable, and affordable EV charging infrastructure becomes more apparent. While there are many challenges to developing and operating EV charging infrastructure, there are also many opportunities. In this blog post, we will explore six principles for developing and operating EV charging infrastructure. From engaging key stakeholders to designing for flexibility, these principles can help create a framework for success.
1. Devise your charging schedule
A well-designed charging schedule is critical to the success of any electric vehicle charging infrastructure. There are a few key considerations when devising your schedule:
- Determine the types of chargers you will need. Level 1 chargers are best for overnight charging, while Level 2 or higher chargers are better for quick top-offs during the day.
- Consider the demand on your charger(s). Will there be more demand during weekdays or weekends? Are there certain times of day that are busier than others?
- Plan for maintenance and repairs. Make sure to leave some time each week for charger maintenance and repairs, as this is essential to keeping your infrastructure running smoothly.
- Incorporate EV driver feedback. Be sure to get input from EV drivers on your proposed schedule – they may have helpful suggestions that you hadn’t considered!
- Have a backup plan. In case of unexpected outages or other disruptions, it’s important to have a backup plan in place so that EV drivers can still charge their vehicles.
By following these simple tips, you can develop a charging schedule that meets the needs of both your EV drivers and your business.
2. Procure the optimal hardware
Procuring the right hardware is critical to ensuring a successful electric vehicle charging infrastructure. There are many factors to consider when selecting hardware, including compatibility with the local electricity grid, type of charger ( Level 1, Level 2, or DC fast), and desired features (e.g., WiFi, smartphone app integration).
Working with a qualified electrician or electrical engineer can help ensure that the right hardware is selected for the specific installation. Once the hardware is installed, it is important to test it regularly to ensure proper functioning and safety.
3. Develop an EV fleet charging management solution
The first thing any organization should do when developing an electric vehicle (EV) fleet charging management solution is to create a comprehensive plan. This plan should consider all aspects of the business, from the motivations for going electric to the technical details of how charging infrastructure will be designed, installed, and operated.
The second principle is to ensure that the charging management solution is responsive to customer needs. This means understanding how customers will want to use the charging infrastructure and designing the system accordingly. For example, some customers may want to charge their vehicles during off-peak hours to save money, while others may need to charge more frequently and may be willing to pay a higher price for a faster charge.
The third principle is to optimize charger utilization. This can be accomplished by implementing policies and procedures that encourage drivers to use available chargers as efficiently as possible. For example, organizations can offer incentives for drivers who charge their vehicles during off-peak hours or who share chargers with other drivers.
The fourth principle is to manage demand charges. Many utilities impose demand charges on businesses based on the highest amount of electricity used in a given period of time. To minimize these charges, businesses should develop plans that stagger when employees charge their vehicles throughout the day.
The fifth principle is safety. When installing and operating EV charging infrastructure, businesses must take steps to ensure the safety of their employees, customers, and equipment. This includes following all applicable safety regulations and ensuring that chargers are properly installed
4. Incorporate a smart energy management solution
An effective electric vehicle charging infrastructure must be designed to accommodate both current and future demand. A smart energy management solution will help you effectively manage your power needs while reducing your overall costs.
Your electric vehicle charger should be able to connect to the grid and automatically adjust its output based on the current demand. This will minimize the amount of power that is wasted and prevent blackouts during peak periods.
In addition, a smart energy management solution can help you optimize your usage of renewable energy sources. By integrating with solar and wind power systems, you can reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and significantly lower your carbon footprint.
5. Introduce intelligent battery management
The majority of electric vehicle (EV) owners charge their vehicles at home, typically overnight. This presents an opportunity to use smart charging technologies to manage when and how EVs are charged in order to minimize the impact on the electricity grid.
There are a number of different approaches to managing EV charging, but all share the goal of reducing the strain on the grid by spreading out charging times and/or using lower-cost off-peak electricity.
One common approach is known as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G). This technology allows EVs to be connected to the grid and used as storage batteries. When there is excess renewable energy being generated (e.g., from wind or solar), it can be stored in the EV batteries and used later when needed.
Another approach is known as “smart” or “intelligent” charging, which refers to using algorithms to optimize when an EV is plugged in and charged. This can involve prioritizing charging during times of low demand or taking advantage of time-of-use electricity rates.
Regardless of the approach used, managing EV charging through intelligent battery management can help reduce the overall demand on the electricity grid and improve its efficiency.
6. Integrate with other EV management components
There are a number of other components that can be integrated with electric vehicle charging infrastructure in order to make it more effective. These include:
- Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE): This is the equipment that is used to connect an electric vehicle to the grid in order to charge it. EVSE can be integrated with charging infrastructure in order to make it more efficient.
- Energy Management Systems (EMS): EMS can be used to optimize the way that electricity is used in a facility, including electric vehicle charging. EMS can help to reduce the overall cost of operating electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
- Renewable Energy Sources: Incorporating renewable energy sources into electric vehicle charging infrastructure can help to reduce the environmental impact of operating EVs. Renewable energy sources can also help to lower the overall cost of operating electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
- Battery Storage: Battery storage can be used to store excess electricity generated by renewable energy sources or during times of low demand. This stored electricity can then be used to power electric vehicles during peak times, or when renewable energy sources are not available.
- Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE): EVSE is the equipment used to service and maintain electric vehicles. EVSE can be integrated with charging infrastructure in order to make it more convenient for EV owners and operators.
There are a few final things to keep in mind when developing and operating electric vehicle charging infrastructure. First, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the needs of the community being served. What types of vehicles are popular? What are the average trip lengths? This information will help determine the number and location of charging stations. Second, electric vehicle charging infrastructure should be designed to be flexible and expandable. As new technologies emerge and user habits change, the infrastructure should be able to adapt. Third, always keep safety in mind. Charging stations need to be properly installed and maintained to avoid any accidents or injuries. Fourth, make sure there is adequate customer support available. This can include things like having staff on hand to answer questions or providing 24/7 telephone support. Fifth, be prepared for peaks in demand. Have a plan in place for how to deal with high usage periods so that everyone has access to charging stations when they need them. Finally, stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments. This will help ensure that the electric vehicle charging infrastructure stays current and meets the needs of users over time.